Heavy Casualties as Nagorno-Karabakh Fighting Continues

Clashes could cause a wider regional conflict

Fighting that erupted on Sunday between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians in the contested mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh continued throughout Monday.

Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said 26 more of their soldiers were killed on Monday evening, bringing the total of dead Nagorno-Karabakh troops to 84. Eleven civilians have been reported killed in the fighting, nine on the Azerbaijan side, and two on the Armenian side. So far, no Azeri military casualties have been reported.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, both post-Soviet states, have been locked in a territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh for decades.

After heavy fighting killed thousands in the early 1990s, a ceasefire was declared in 1994. While there have been flare-ups since the ceasefire, these latest clashes are the heaviest the region has seen since 1994.

The fighting risks sparking a wider regional conflict, with Turkey throwing its support behind Azerbaijan. On Monday, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded Armenia end its “occupation” of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia has a mutual defense pact with Armenia and has military bases in the country. But Moscow also enjoys friendly ties with Azerbaijan and does not seem interested in getting drawn into the conflict. Russia urged both sides to show restraint and called for a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.